Working out offers several health benefits, but some people have a hard time getting to the gym every day. Outdoor fitness equipment is a great way to help people stay healthy without a gym membership. With a variety of equipment available, you can create a complete outdoor gym at any facility.
Before you invest in an outdoor gym, there are several things you should consider. You need to find the right equipment, decide where you want to install it, and design a safe outdoor gym. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of outdoor fitness equipment so you can build a healthy community.
What Is Outdoor Fitness Equipment?
Outdoor fitness equipment is just like the fitness equipment you’d see in an indoor gym, but it’s designed and constructed for outdoor use. Unlike the equipment you’d find at a local indoor gym, outdoor fitness equipment is made to stand up to the rigors of the outdoors, including inclement weather and direct sun exposure. Special coatings protect outdoor gym equipment from the elements.
With tons of equipment to choose from, you can offer a full-circuit outdoor workout. You have your choice of several cardio machines, including an elliptical, exercise bike, air strider, or recumbent bike. There are even outdoor rowing machines, squat presses, and leg presses.
Outdoor fitness equipment is great for certain types of facilities. Installing outdoor fitness equipment at a senior living facility is a great way to help residents stay active. Correctional facilities use outdoor fitness equipment to give people something to do. Building an outdoor gym at your facility can help everyone stay fit without a gym membership.
Do: Start With a Solid Surface
Outdoor gym equipment can be heavy, and creating a safe outdoor gym is essential. Start with a solid foundation that can support the weight of the machines plus the people using them.
Compacted gravel is a simple way to create a solid surface for an outdoor gym. You’ll want to start with a deep layer of gravel — about three inches. Once your gravel is spread, you can use a plate compactor to compact the surface.
Concrete is more expensive than compacted gravel, but it’s also an excellent surface to build your outdoor gym on.
Do: Choose Quality Equipment
Not all outdoor fitness equipment is built the same. When you’re choosing outdoor fitness equipment, look for quality machines that are designed for outdoor use.
At TriActiveUSA, we apply a thick powder coating to all of our outdoor fitness equipment to protect it from the elements. Thanks to sturdy steel tubing, our machines can even support heavier users without breaking.
Do: Offer a Variety of Equipment
Getting a varied workout helps build strength, so offer different types of exercise equipment.
Every outdoor gym should have a few cardio machines. We offer several options, including our air strider, air walker, elliptical cross trainer, exercise bike, and recumbent bike.
For strength training, invest in equipment that offers a full-body workout. You can find several types of strength training equipment at TriActiveUSA, including chest and shoulder presses, squat presses, and rowing machines.
Do: Consider Security
People should feel safe while they’re working out. When you’re designing an outdoor gym, be sure to include security features to protect users.
A tall fence is a good place to start if you want to secure your outdoor gym. Fences are also helpful in correctional facilities. You can add privacy slats to a chain link fence to give people some privacy while they’re working out.
If you have cameras around your facility, point one or two of them at your outdoor gym area. Cameras help deter thieves and vandals, and you have video evidence in case something is ever damaged or stolen.
Do: Plan for Adverse Weather
Outdoor gyms are an excellent way to enjoy some sunshine during the summer, but the weather isn’t going to be nice all year. During the planning stages, make sure you have protection from inclement weather if you want to work out in the summer. A roof with glass or plexiglass panels will let sunlight through during the summer while protecting against rain.
If you want to go all out, you can install a retractable or removable roof. This is a more expensive option, but it’s a great way to enjoy sunshine during the summer without having to deal with winter rain and snow.
Don’t: Invest in Unnecessary Equipment
Building an outdoor gym can be expensive. Start with a detailed plan to make sure you’re not buying equipment you don’t need.
There are a few things to consider if you want to avoid buying unnecessary equipment. Some of our equipment is wheelchair accessible, which is essential if you have people with disabilities exercising at your gym. We also have combination machines that offer several functions in one piece of equipment, so you don’t have to buy everything individually.
It’s not a bad idea to double down on the equipment you use the most, whether that’s a combo press and pull or a recumbent bike. You don’t want to spend money if you don’t need to, but it’s nice to have enough equipment for everyone.
Don’t: Forget Lighting
Lighting is one of the most crucial investments when it comes to the safety of your outdoor gym. Lighting helps people see what they’re doing in the morning or evening, plus it creates a more secure environment where people can exercise.
When you’re laying down a foundation for your outdoor gym, consider installing light posts so you can keep the area well-lit. If you’ve already got a foundation without light posts, you can invest in freestanding lights or install lights on the surrounding fence.
Don’t: Avoid Maintenance
Outdoor fitness equipment is designed to stand up to constant rain and sun exposure, but you still have to stay on top of maintenance. Ideally, you should be cleaning your outdoor gym equipment every two weeks at the very least.
Because our outdoor gym equipment is powder-coated to resist corrosion, it can stand up to rain and other harsh weather. If that powder coating is chipped or scratched, bare metal can be exposed to the elements. A new powder coating may be needed after several years.
You should also lubricate your outdoor fitness equipment occasionally to keep everything working smoothly.
Don’t: Skimp on Equipment
After you set up your outdoor gym, keep an eye out to see which equipment is in high demand. If you notice people waiting for certain equipment all the time, consider buying a second machine.
You don’t want to spend more than you need to on outdoor gym equipment, but you want people to be able to exercise efficiently. You can even ask people what equipment they’d like to use most, that way you can buy doubles of some equipment from the start.
Don’t: Forget Accessibility
Even if you don’t have people with disabilities using your outdoor gym on a weekly basis, you should make your gym accessible. Wheelchair-accessible equipment is a great way to allow everyone to work out. Investing in accessible equipment is a smart way to plan for the future and avoid buying unnecessary equipment.
Build the Perfect Outdoor Gym With Equipment From TriActiveUSA
Setting up your outdoor gym takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth the investment. With the right equipment and a solid foundation, you can create the perfect outdoor workout spot for your facility.
TriActiveUSA offers a wide selection of outdoor gym equipment, so you can design and build an outdoor gym that stands the test of time. If you want to help your facility stay fit, check out our selection of outdoor fitness equipment today.